Fire Safety Risk Assessment
The National Security Inspectorate (NSI), the UK’s independent certification body specializing in the security and fire safety sectors, shared in the success of this year’s IFSEC and FIREX exhibitions as the integrated events proved important forums for approved companies and applicants, as well as key industry stakeholders, to engage face-to-face with NSI experts. The three-day events provided a vital opportunity to raise awareness of the valuable role of independent certific...
The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is setting the standard for the use of drones in firefighting applications. As one of the first major metropolitan fire departments to have a significant drone program, LAFD has flown more than 175 missions in less than two years, including the Skirball fire that burned the Bel Air neighborhood in December 2017. Since Skyfire Consulting, a drone services and training company, helped LAFD secure a Certificate of Authorization (COA) for the drone program, th...
FIREX International, 18-20 June, 2019, at ExCel London will feature 25-plus hours of seminars and panel discussions along with an exhibition of 130-plus manufacturers showcasing products for fire safety. A Sprinkler and Suppression Presentation Area will highlight the important category. Also, for the fourth year, the International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference will take place alongside FIREX International. There will be 18,000 fire prevention and protection professionals from over 70 c...
For the last 200 years, firefighters have been using inefficient manual methods to track their crews’ movement. Incident commanders need to know the location and status of responders on site. Technology adds a new element to tracking crews’ movements. Firefighters on scene can now be electronically tracked to ensure they are rotated out of danger before their allotted time expires. The officer in charge – standing outside the scene with the rugged tablet in hand – can mo...
Water is key to any firefighting operation. Being able to secure an adequate water supply is critical a critical skill for all fire departments. One of the most challenging scenarios to secure a water supply in is when there is no municipal water supply, or it is lacking in volume and flow. When fires occur in these areas, the only alternative is to shuttle water from the nearest municipal supply or a static body of water. To get the highest flow possible, departments must train on shuttle set...
Euralarm welcomes the recent announcement from the European Commission of an “implementing decision” concerning harmonized standards for the Construction Products, which includes the long-awaited citation of two core Fire Detections standards, hence confirming them as harmonized standards under the Construction Product Regulations (CPR). This announcement closes off the first step in a strategic plan which has evolved out of cooperation between CPR stakeholders (represented by CEN/TC...
Taking place 16 - 17 of April 2019, this will be the ninth edition of Securex West Africa. Having firmly established itself as the region’s leading exhibition and conference for the commercial, perimeter, cyber and homeland security, fire and safety industry, this year’s show is expected to attract more than 2,500 visitors, 85 exhibiting brands along with key industry stakeholders from governmental organizations and prominent industry associations. Among the show floor features due to take place at this year’s exhibition is the Conference. Running daily sessions lead by senior industry experts, organisers have confirmed that Bulwark Intelligence are now signed up as Strategic Partners to the event. Delivering Defense And Intelligence Solutions This year’s conference theme will be ‘National Security in a Boundaryless World: 21st Century Solutions to Nigeria’s Insecurity'A privately-owned company, Bulwark Intelligence Solutions Limited, is focused on delivering extensive, accurate and dependable security, defense and intelligence solutions to around the globe. It was founded and is run by US Military veterans with combined experience of over fifty-two years in the defense, security and intelligence industry. The company has clientele cut across Defense and Security, Oil & Gas, Academia, Foreign investors, Banking & Finance, Non-Profits, Political and global leaders. Organisers have revealed a sneak preview of prominent topics as well as key speakers for this year’s Securex West Africa Conference. This year’s conference theme will be ‘National Security in a Boundaryless World: 21st Century Solutions to Nigeria’s Insecurity’. As Nigeria’s population continues to grow with an estimated population of 450 million by 2050, it is important that all stakeholders including security, military, political, civil society and more, come together to discuss solutions that will curb current and future threats while ensuring stability in the country. Providing Companies With Valuable Insights The exhibitions Regional Director, George Pearson said; “Every year we consult with leading members of the industry to put together a cohesive program of conference sessions that will not only inform Securex visitors, but also educate. In the current industry climate, with this transition into a new digital era, companies across the board are facing brand new threats and it is our goal to provide valuable insights into how to protect themselves.” Companies across the board are facing brand new threats and it is our goal to provide valuable insights into how to protect themselves" Just some of the key sessions announced include; ‘Implementing 21st Century Security Strategies and Solutions; the place of technology and social media’, ‘Security Sector Reforms and Policies in Nigeria, addressing a boundaryless operating environment’ and ‘Community Cohesion: security as an enabler of/for development; towards Solutions for Stability’. Key Industry Experts At The Event Among the key industry experts set to take the stage this year will be the Honorable Aliyu Gebi, Senior Special Advisor to the Minister of Interior, Mr Wale Olaoye, CEO Halogen Security, Dr Solomon Arase, Former Inspector General of Police and Capt. Aliyu Umar (Rtd), CEO Goldwater and Riversands Consults to name just a few. The full Conference program for Securex West Africa 2019 will be released very shortly and to ensure you receive it directly to your inbox, simply pre-register to attend for free. Pre-registration is now open for those looking to attend Securex West Africa. By pre-registering online in advance, you will have free access to both full days and you’ll also receive show updates direct to your inbox, exclusive competition announcements and much more. Once more, Securex West Africa will open from 16 - 17 April 2019 at the Landmark Centre in Lagos, Nigeria.
Many volunteer departments are forced to make do with an inadequate amount of turnout gear or with worn-out, non-compliant gear they can’t afford to replace. That’s why MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) are working together again in 2019 to distribute new turnout gear to volunteer fire departments through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway Program. This annual program began in 2012 to help departments in need properly outfit their crew. To date, the program has delivered 455 sets to 95 departments. Longstanding Partnership The NVFC is excited to partner with MSA and DuPont again this year on our annual giveaway" “The NVFC is excited to partner with MSA and DuPont again this year on our annual giveaway,” said NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn. “Proper turnouts are essential to ensure the safety of our boots on the ground, but many volunteer departments struggle to provide adequate protection to their firefighters. We are grateful to MSA and DuPont for their generosity in giving back to those who serve.” “MSA is pleased to continue this longstanding partnership with DuPont and the NVFC to provide advanced turnout gear to volunteer fire departments in need,” said chief operating officer of MSA’s Globe firefighter protective apparel Tom Vetras. “For more than 100 years we’ve been dedicated to protecting those who protect us, so when there are first responders in need – we’re proud to be able to help.” Gear Giveaway Program “With DuPont’s continued focus on protecting firefighters, we are proud and humbled to partner alongside MSA and the NVFC on this much needed gear giveaway program,” said John Richard, vice president and general manager, DuPont Kevlar and Nomex. “Ensuring that these brave men and women are protected as they selflessly serve their communities is paramount to DuPont, and we look forward to the kick-off of another successful Globe Gear Giveaway campaign.” The 2019 application period for MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway is now open The 2019 application period for MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway is now open. 13 departments will each receive four sets of new gear, for a total of 52 sets. The first 500 applicants will also receive a one-year NVFC membership, courtesy of MSA. MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway Criteria To be eligible to apply for MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway, departments must meet the following criteria: be all-volunteer or mostly-volunteer (over 50 percent) serve a population of 25,000 or less be located in the U.S. or Canada and legally organized under state/province law demonstrate a need for the gear department or person applying must be a member of the NVFC. To help departments meet the membership criteria, MSA will provide a complimentary NVFC Membership to the first 500 applicants.
CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, released updated data analysis showing 23,044 homes with a total reconstruction cost value (RCV) of approximately $8.6 billion are at high or extreme risk of wildfire damage within the perimeters of the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California. Due to the increased containment of these two wildfires, CoreLogic has revised the area of analysis from ZIP code regions to the actual wildfire perimeters. This provides a more precise evaluation of the risk associated with these wildfires. The tables below break down the risk and corresponding RCV for structures affected by each wildfire and its associated perimeter. Quantifying the risks from wildfires RCVs represent the cost to completely rebuild a property in the worst-case scenario of total destruction of the structure, including labour and materials by geographic location. While other hazards may cause partial destruction but rarely eliminate an entire property, wildfire events are more likely to cause total loss to structures affected. The tables calculate the number of homes at high or extreme risk from wildfire damage within the perimeterThe tables calculate the number of homes at high or extreme risk from wildfire damage within the perimeter and quantify the risk of homes just outside of the perimeter for both the Camp and Woolsey Fires. However, due to the unpredictable nature of wildfires, it is important to note that even within the perimeter, not all homes will suffer damage; of those that do suffer damage, the damage will not all be equivalent. Following the containment of the wildfires, CoreLogic will assess the damage and provide a post-catastrophe loss estimate for these areas. CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Score The CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Score is a deterministic wildfire model which is as comprehensive as it is granular. It covers 15 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. It evaluates the risk of a property to wildfire by returning an easy-to-understand, normalized 5 to 100 score, giving insight into the potential risk of a wildfire. It considers slope, aspect, vegetation/fuel, and surface composition as well as proximity to higher risk areas that could affect the property via windblown embers. These factors are all weighted differently and combine to form the score.
The global market for Passive Fire Protection (PFP) Materials is estimated to reach US$ 30.2 billion by 2025. Growth in the market will be driven by the growing number of fire accidents, stringent fire safety regulations, and technological advances and product innovations. The growing number of fire accidents worldwide in recent years has led to the implementation of increasingly stringent regulations related to fire safety across the globe. In this background, demand for fire management products such as passive fire protection (PFP) materials has grown rapidly over the last few years. Passive Fire Protection (PFP) Material PFP materials prevent the structure of a building from collapsing by containing the spread of fire and are increasingly becoming an indispensable part of the building disaster management system. Use of PFP materials in buildings and complex structures enhances the structural stability and offers additional protection to load bearing beams and columns which prolongs their crumbling in the event of a fire breakout. Apart from construction, other key end-use markets for PFP materials are oil & gas, and electronics. Sprays, boards, and thin film intumescent coatings are the most commonly used PFP materials to protect steel structures from fire Sprays, boards, and thin film intumescent coatings are the most commonly used PFP materials to protect steel structures from fire. Intumescent thin-film coatings are one of the fastest growing market segments and are being widely used as substitute for boards and sprays. Water-based intumescent coatings are the most commonly used coatings for fireproofing steel. Global PFP Market The above findings are part of a comprehensive analysis of the global passive fire protection materials market published by Melvin Bright, which provides insights into key market segments such as coatings, bulkheads, cladding and panels, fire protection doors, sealants, fittings, sprays, boards, cables, ductworks, glazing systems, fire walls, and ceilings and partitions, among others. It also covers end-use markets such as construction, oil and gas, electronics, defense, automotive and transportation, chemical, energy and power, healthcare, waste management, and hospitality, among others. The study provides granular market information on the above market segments for all the major regional and country markets.
Draka’s Firetuf cable series for the cabling of tunnel systems has grown with the launch of the new Firetuf OFC-LT-SWA fire resistant loose tube cable with steel wire armour. As with all Firetuf cables, Firetuf OFC-LT-SWA has been designed for harsh environments and to ensure fail-safe management of operational systems in tunnels, underground railways and fire alarm systems. A steel wire armoured, refractory cable, Firetuf OFC-LT-SWA is ideal for heavy duty applications due to its high mechanical strength and pulling tension, plus its resistance to even the most determined rodents. The loose tube cable offers 90 minutes fire resistance thanks to its innovative design with double LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen) sheathing in accordance with IEC standard 60331-25. The number of fibres per cable, from 12 to 144, is unique in the market. Central Tube Cables The new Firetuf OFC-LT-SWA is the latest addition to Draka’s portfolio of loose tube cables, which includes non-metallic Firetuf OFC-LT-NM and corrugated steel tape armoured Firetuf OFC-LT-CST. With a maximum number of 144 fibres, all three cable types are unique in the market. All three cable types have been thoroughly tested and approved. Draka also offers the Firetuf OFC-UT-NM (non-metallic) and Firetuf OFC-UT-CST (steel tape armoured) central tube cables, which are fire resistant Draka also offers the Firetuf OFC-UT-NM (non-metallic) and Firetuf OFC-UT-CST (steel tape armoured) central tube cables, which have a fire resistance even longer than their loose tube variants – up to 120 minutes. Depending on the design, they are equipped with 2 to 24 fibres. Tunnel Management “The number of tunnels and subways are increasing from year to year in a bid to better manage our traffic infrastructure, but present challenges when it comes to emergency situations such as accidents or fires. Safety is therefore the central issue in the planning and construction of tunnels," says Tayfun Eren, Product Manager at Draka, Prysmian Group. "The operational systems for tunnel management must be fail-safe around the clock. This requires safe and reliable cabling. Our high-quality Firetuf cable series are optimized for applications in tunnel operation such as fire detection, fire alarm systems, light and ventilation control and escape route systems and guarantee a highly available cable infrastructure.”
“The fire sector is undergoing rapid change whilst constantly evolving, which requires manufacturers to adapt and innovate,” Vimpex Managing Director James Jones explained to guests at the unveiling of the company's ambitious new state-of-the-art manufacturing production facility at Great Wakering, Essex. He was responding to an opening address by Sir David Amess MP, Chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Fire & Rescue. This major development of the company’s capabilities is seen as an important and significant milestone in the Vimpex mission to become the world’s independent manufacturer and distributor of fire alarm sounders and associated evacuation and alarm system equipment and accessories. Transforming Our Business We are excited by the opportunities created by our nearly half million pound investment in transforming our business" Speaking to an impressive array of fire safety professionals including installers, distributors, OEM partners and members of the emergency services, James Jones said, “We are excited by the opportunities created by our nearly half million pound investment in transforming our business with adding this high-capacity manufacturing production facility, which will enable us to rapidly develop our markets for both Vimpex-produced and distributed products.” “We have created a phenomenal capacity for business growth,’ James told guests, ‘which will allow the company to innovate and increase its product ranges, markets and territories, and to significantly increase export activity in targeted markets in which we anticipate a doubling of sales revenues by 2025.” Platform For Significant Growth Vimpex is a freshly emerging UK owned independent manufacturer of fire alarm & evacuation equipment and alarm system accessories. Thanks to recent grant funding from bodies such as South East Business Boost, Southend Best Growth Hub, Manufacturing Growth Programme and, most valuably, Essex Rivers LLG (LEADER), the business has transformed itself into a specialist electronics manufacturer with a platform for significant growth through increased efficiencies, development of its own products and IP along with an energetic push for growth through export.
A number of shocking incidents involving fire have highlighted the need to better manage risks in buildings. David Adkins, managing director at Risk Warden, explains why some organisations need to give compliance with statutory regulations more focus and how the use of state-of-the-art online risk assessment tools can help to ensure that a building is as safe as possible. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into sharp focus. A government review into building regulations in the wake of this tragedy, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, made it clear that competence – defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and experience – underpins safety for all. It also found that that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose and, with little or no quality monitoring, has created a situation where poor language confuses guidance with regulation and means that there is an overlapping regulatory enforcement framework. Why you need a fire safety action plan Sadly, Grenfell was not an isolated incident and similar events have occurred throughout the world. In 2017 a fire at a 17-storey commercial building in Iran led to multiple deaths, including those of 18 firefighters, while in 2015 16 people died in a fire in a residential building in Azerbaijan. Perhaps what is most concerning is that these types of events have been regularly occurring for many years – in 2010 a fire in a 28-storey tower block in China killed 53 people and injured at least 90, while in 2004 a fire at a care home in Scotland led directly to the deaths of 14 residents. The inquiry concluded that this tragedy could have been prevented by a suitable fire safety action plan. These examples highlight why it is vital to take the issue of safety seriously by undertaking a formal risk assessment. Put simply, if risks aren’t identified, a building’s occupants are in danger. There are a number of important pieces of legislation relating to this area in the UK including The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which contain a consistent set of requirements. Employers also have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into focus Responsibility for fire risk assessment When it comes to the dangers associated specifically with fire, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) places the onus on a designated responsible person within an organisation to carry out regular assessments to identify, manage and reduce the potential danger posed by fire. Article 9 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he/she needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him/her by or under this order". Any failure that leads to loss of life, personal injury or damage to property will expose a responsible person and could lead to prosecution. Outside fire risk assessors If the responsible person does not have the knowledge to carry out a fire risk assessment on his or her own, it will be necessary to call on a competent outside fire risk assessor. However, as Article 18 of the RRFSO points out, "Preference is to be given to a suitable competent person in the responsible person’s employment over a person not in their employment". Just as importantly, it states that, "A person is to be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures". If an outside fire risk assessor is employed then the responsible person must undertake due diligence to ensure that the individual concerned is competent and has successful track record in this line of work. Failure to do so can have enormous repercussions like, for example, in 2017 when a former firefighter and professional fire risk assessor was given a sentence of four months in prison suspended for 12 months for providing a ‘woefully inadequate’ fire risk assessment in his capacity as a private consultant. Failure to undertake due diligence when employing a fire risk assessor can have legal consequences Monitoring and reviewing fire risk It is up to the responsible person to put processes and procedures in place to enable compliance to be fully evidenced. This includes keeping up to date records of testing and maintenance regimes that can be scrutinised by relevant enforcement authorities, as well as enabling the responsible person to monitor, control and periodically review the fire risk assessment, especially during and after significant changes to the use or layout of a building. At the moment there are no hard and fast rules as to how fire risk assessments should be carried out. However, the most important requirement is to identify the fire hazards and how people could be at risk. In addition, emergency routes and exits, fire detection and warning systems, fire fighting equipment, the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances, and the needs of vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with disabilities must be factored in. The aim should always be to remove or reduce the risks as much as is 'reasonably practicable'. A failure to provide satisfactory evidence that a comprehensive risk assessment has taken place could result in invalid insurance, large fines and even the prosecution of any individuals responsible. To that end Article 11 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the size of his/her undertaking and the nature of its activities, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures". Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface Risk assessment and compliance tools Sometimes, particularly with large buildings or campus environments, the complexity of the risk assessment process requires a more methodical approach that takes subjectivity out of the process. When it comes to satisfying the requirements of Article 11 of the RRFSO where "the responsible person must record the arrangements", the latest generation of intuitive risk assessment and compliance tools can help. Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface, which allows a responsible person to be guided through the entire risk assessment process in a clear and thorough manner. This is a significant improvement on the old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ approach, as digital images can be captured and placed directly into a report at the relevant section, while templates for specific building types ensure consistency throughout. This simplifies the identification, management and prevention of any risks related to not only fire, but security, and health and safety too, thereby reducing the potential for danger within a wide variety of environments. It should always be remembered that the risk assessment is only the first stage of the process and where traditional methods often fall down is in taking – or not taking, as the case may be – any necessary remedial action. Online tools provide a more cohesive approach, as once the risk assessment has been completed all work undertaken is clearly outlined, logged and accounted for to comply with audits. This provides evidence of compliance and ensures organisations meet their legal obligations, validate their insurance, take a consistent approach to risk management and provide peace of mind for a responsible person. Making buildings safer There is a clear need for a digital record of risk assessment compliance for the whole life of a building – from design and construction through to occupation. As assessing risk can be a lengthy and complicated process, anything that makes this easier and enhances an organisation’s ability to negate the likelihood of injury or even death should be embraced. It stands to reason that risk management must be more strictly applied in order to prevent incidents that could be avoided – therefore, the use of online risk assessment and compliance tools should be at the forefront when it comes to making buildings safer.
Fire safety in road or rail tunnels is critical in avoiding potentially disastrous incidents Roger Wilton, Assistant Technical Manager of the Fire Industry Association (FIA), explains the challenges of preventing underground fires. Fires in tunnels tend to make headline news, largely because of the potential loss of life that such an incident presents. At the turn of the new millennium three catastrophic fires in as many years ensured that tunnel protection became a real focus on the fire safety agenda. In 1999 the Mont Blanc tunnel fire, probably the most well known of the three, resulted in 39 deaths when a Belgian transport truck caught fire, resulting in temperatures of 1,000°C and taking some five days to cool sufficiently for crews to enter the tunnel to begin three years of repairs and significant enhancements of the safety equipment and procedures. This was followed in November 2000 by the Austrian Kaprun funicular tunnel fire which killed some 155 people as they headed for the pistes in a popular ski area some 350 kilometres to the west of Vienna. Then, in October 2001, the St Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland, the third longest road tunnel in the world, saw two lorries collide to create a fire that killed eleven people. Tunnel fires have, of course, occurred before and since but three such major incidents in such a short timeframe highlighted very clearly the dangers of tunnel fires and the need to recognise the specific challenges that tunnels present in terms of fire safety engineering. When construction work is undertaken in an underground location, the project plan for safety and in particular fire safety needs to address the extra risks associated with work in an area that, by definition, will have limited means of escape. The area will inevitably be one in which ventilation will be restricted. Lighting will also be a prime consideration. Risk Assessment A comprehensive and dynamic fire risk assessment document is essential for creating a successful fire safety strategy Managing an emergency successfully is a matter of planning, having the correct equipment in place and employing an effective maintenance programme to ensure that the equipment works when required. The first essential is a risk assessment undertaken by a competent person. Particularly during the construction phase of a project, the risk assessment needs to be a dynamic working document that changes as the work progresses. The ownership and authorship of said document needs to be one of the project manager’s prime tasks. It should link to a project fire and safety strategy document that indicates how the risks identified are being managed and how the process for emergencies are to be handled. For example, if a risk from mechanical plant operating in the underground location is identified, the strategy may require that a mechanical plant containing volatile fuel or gas be fitted with an automatic fire suppression system and that during operation a specified number and type of portable fire extinguishers be available. The strategy document may also require that persons operating the equipment undertake specific training on the use of fire extinguishers. Fire risk and fire strategy are the tools of the trade for driving down financial loss and reducing project delay. A fire risk assessment follows a logical pattern Identify fire hazards Identify people particularly at risk Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risks Record, plan, instruct, inform and train Review the plan Specific fire risks in construction work underground are determined on each site. However, all such work will need to consider the following when producing a proposed fire strategy: Difficulties in providing means of escape. Enclosed environment ventilation issues. Access for emergency services. Whilst tunnels are constructed, fire hazards must be identified and correct fire safety measures taken During a construction project the first requirement of the risk assessment is to identify the fire hazards. This may be one of the most challenging problems as identifying what will burn and is potential ignition risk is linked to use and the experience of the user. The hazards will change as the construction progresses. The risk will increase as initial construction gives way to first and second fix. The materials used in construction are often delivered in flammable packing to prevent transit damage. A management process for safe storage and for efficient removal of packaging materials is required. The need for fire extinguishers suitable for Class A fires (those involving solid materials, such as paper wood or textiles) is apparent. The construction programme can be part of the risk control programme. For example, the completion of enclosed stair routes before other work proceeds can help address safe escape routes. Early provision of a ventilation system will assist in control of the environment to allow escape. Control of the area by a ‘permit to work’ system and a temporary fire alarm system can assist in the risk reduction process. All of the above underlines my assertion that the risk assessment needs to be a dynamic working document that changes as the work progresses. The fire protection of an area can be enhanced by using heat or smoke detection. The services that a tunnel normally carries can form part of the detection. For example, fibre optic cables can form the sensor for a linear heat detection system that can provide precise location information. As with many fire situations, providing warning at the earliest possible point is the goal and identifying the source of a fire is a significant factor in this process. CCTV systems can also provide a smoke detection output as well as supplying video information. From construction to use Once the construction phase is complete the elements of the operation of a tunnel need to be built into the equation. The risk and the fire load - that is the amount of combustible material in the area or passing through - need to be recognised and the fire protection measures employed accordingly. The requirement for fire fighting systems and the location of portable fire extinguishers will depend on the use to which the structure will be put. If personnel are normally located within a given area of the tunnel, the system to alert them to potential danger needs careful consideration. The variety and versatility of voice and message sounders is an important factor here, with voice-based messaging increasingly being used to provide a precise instruction for an evacuation that is not available from a purely tone-based sounder. Rising to the challenge Both Europe and the USA are conducting ongoing research into methods of more effectively reducing the threat of underground tunnel fires Tunnels provide their own unique fire safety challenges, whether during the construction phase or when the tunnel is actually in use. This article has only scratched the surface of what needs to be considered. Extensive research is ongoing, both in Europe and in the USA, to find methods of further reducing the threat of fire. This is not only in terms of fire prevention, testing the relative strengths and, importantly, the weaknesses of different fire detection technologies, but also in providing the means for safe evacuation to prevent the tragic loss of life which the three incidents highlighted at the outset demonstrate only too well. Roger Wilton - Assistant Technical Manager - Fire Industry Association (FIA)
STANLEY Security, one of the UK’s leading security providers, has installed a wireless fire alarm system at Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories, meeting their insurance requirements while saving considerable expense. Based in Leicester, Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories Ltd. operates from a large three storey building which it owns. Harvey’s itself works out of the bottom floor and the remaining building is subdivided into units which are rented out, with the two floors upstairs being dance studios that are mostly used in the evenings and weekends. Requirement Of A L2 Fire System L2 requires Manual Call Points throughout and optical AFD in escape routes and all rooms, corridors and compartmentsAs part of its insurance policy, Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories conducted a Fire Risk Assessment, undertaken by a third party. The assessor stated that an L2 category Fire System was required throughout the building. BS 5839-1:2017, the British Standard for fire detection and fire alarm systems in non-domestic premises, categorizes systems based on their objectives. Category L is a system designed to protect life and ranges from minimal protection 5 to top protection 1. L2 requires Manual Call Points throughout and optical automatic fire detection (AFD) in escape routes and all rooms, corridors and compartments that open onto escape routes, plus further AFD in areas identified as high fire risk. L2 systems therefore often come with a high price tag, especially in a large building such as that owned by Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories. After receiving several quotes that were out of the company’s reach, STANLEY Security provided the company with an affordable, effective alternative. EMS Wireless System For Cost Reduction “One of the key costs in the previous quotes was cabling,” states Ashley Hickling, Fire Sales Manager for STANLEY Security. “Other installers were looking to cable the entire system, or use a hybrid of hard wired and wireless equipment. With a large building, the amount of cabling pushed the price high. Furthermore, there were no cable routes, so a lot of containment would have been required for a hard-wired solution, which is also expensive and not aesthetically pleasing – an issue for the dance studios.” STANLEY Security recommended a full EMS wireless system which negates the need for cabling and reduces the costs The cost of labor to fit the cabling also added to the budget. STANLEY Security instead recommended a full EMS wireless system which negates the need for cabling and therefore reduces the costs significantly. Furthermore, the entire system is financed under STANLEY Assure, a finance solution for customers wishing to benefit from up to date security and fire technology without the risks of ownership and with evenly spread, manageable payment terms with no hidden extra costs. Day/Night Protection Of Building’s Inhabitants In the case of Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories, the cost of the system – including maintenance, replacement parts, call outs and labor on a wear and tear basis – is spread over five years with a monthly payment of just £393.80. Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories now benefits from a modern analog addressable L2 fire alarm system that meets its insurance obligations and protects the building’s inhabitants day and night. If a detector on the system should activate, it can be instantly pinpointed from the Fire Panel, confirming exactly which one it is and where, for appropriate, instant action to be taken.
The Fire Risk Assessment infographic details the responsibilities of employers and building owners towards fire safety The Fire Risk Assessment Network have released a new infographic detailing the responsibilities of employers, building owners or occupiers with regards to fire safety at the workplace. The visually compelling, easy-to-understand infographic also includes information about general safety hazards, fire risk assessments and the law. It is of the utmost importance that those responsible for workplaces and other buildings, which are open to public access, can avoid fires by taking responsibility for and adopting the right behaviours and procedures, including carrying out a fire risk assessment and keep it up to date. Mitigating risks The purpose of a fire risk assessment is to identify the fire hazards, identify people at risk, evaluate, remove or reduce the risks, record your findings, prepare an emergency plan, provide training and review and update regularly. The infographic provided by the Fire Risk Assessment Network details the three things that fires need to start, and what procedures that employers must follow to combat these three things. The complete infographic explores what the ways are to carry out a fire risk safety assessment, and different studies, guidance and information for business owners to be safe. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 helps promote fire safety in England and Wales, and this infographic hopes to help others know more about fire safety.